tv [untitled] July 20, 2010 3:00pm-3:30pm PST
back in 1989. one thing that i do want to say in support of doing anything we can, during the earthquake, we had it eleven thousand first responders that were in the marina and about four hours coming out of the army division at the presidio and coming out of the air station that is also still active. both of those bases have been closed down. we have residents living in the presidio that means our need in an earthquake could be even greater. the support that we had back in 1989 is no longer there, and we need it even more now to prevent any problems from occurring, anything we can do to prevent a real disaster from taking place. i like to think the task force
and anyone who has been involved in this effort. president chiu: i understand that several colleagues would like to continue this conversation until after the budget discussion. supervisor avalos has made the motion. seconded by supervisor mar. >> is there a roll call on that motion? president chiu: let's have a roll call vote. >> what is the connection to the budget? why do we need to continue this? >> no budget monies will be used. >> i think that there are other things in discussion, other revenue measures that are still being discussed.
i would feel more comfortable having this later in the meeting today. president chiu: rollcall votes to -- supervisor daly. supervisor daly: i am wondering why we would continue several charter amendments until later in the meeting. it's fine. i don't think there needs to be a motion to vote on it. i think we can kind of pass over its. i am not looking to vote against this, but i think i have an attorney's opinion floating around. i just wish everyone will do the right thing all of the items.
president chiu: any further discussion? we will have a rollcall vote to continue items 50 and 51. supervisor campos: aye. president chiu: aye. supervisor chu: aye. supervisor daly: no. supervisor dufty: no. supervisor elsbernd: no. supervisor mar: aye. supervisor maxwell: >> superviss absent. there are 6 ayes and 4 no's. president chiu: if we could now called items 52 and 53.
-- call items 52 and 53. >> they comprise a special order, sitting as a committee for a public hearing on amendments made to a charter amendment authorizing split appointments. president chiu: i would like to open this hearing in regard to the charter appointments. there are a number of people that wish to speak in public comment. if i could ask -- [reading names] step up to the microphone. first speaker, please. >> i am director of the san
francisco open government advocacy coalition. i have been spending time at the rent board. some interesting things that people don't realize, the budget is $5.40 million. that is $2.7 million out of the pockets of the tenants, and $2.7 million out of the pockets of the landlords of this city. although every other city agency and body has been asked to make cutbacks, they have asked to forgo increases, they have even been asked to take a cut in salary. the rent board has, for the past couple of years, taken in excess of $90,000 a year in additional salary and has also taken an additional $475,000 to pay for retirement benefits and even some city agencies are being asked to contribute out of their own pockets.
what do we get? we get a body that meets in secret in the basement. they advertise that they follow the sun shine ordinance, but they do not record any of their meetings. they take miniscule minutes that you can't tell what they have done and why they have done that. they constantly point to policies that are not written down anywhere. so that certain participants in the process know what the policies are, and others do not. this needs to be passed and needs to go on the ballots of the city and county have a rent board which is fair. i am not saying -- it should be one that is open. it is not at the present time. president chiu: next speaker.
>> good afternoon, supervisors. i am here to urge you to pass this. the rent board definitely needs reform. there are three tenant positions, and one homeowner position, it is just not fair that the homeowner is the deciding vote all the time. the one thing that made me want to come to speak to you, when i heard it that they gave a statistic of 66% in favor, that was their decision, i said this can't be, i did research years ago and i came up with them siding with the tenants only 18% of the time. i have come to find out that they use everything that they do, even things that the rent board does not hear, you should really know that the statistics
show that in cases that come up before the rent board, the only side with the tenant 18 percent side of the time according to my research. thank you. >> my name is cindy a citizen. right now, it is difficult to use the rent board as a tool for most tenants, because they feel they always side with the landlord. that is why it is important that the elective process be put on the november ballot. it would be better to change the structure of these cases and better for the deciding vote so that in the future, they cannot overrule the citizens. we need the rent board to be morton and friendly. thank you.
>> i am with the mission collaborative. i am speaking in favor of the reform that you have in front of you and putting it on the november ballot. san francisco is the only city where the mayor alone appoints the rent board. in other places, the city council elects -- appoints them or they are elected in. just one example why the rent board is not fair. in 2008, the tenant harassment legislation that the city also fought for, a few months ago, i went to see how many cases that they had voted in favor of, they ruled in favor of zero times. that doesn't mean zero tenants have been harassed, it means that the way they look at the legislation is a very conservative viewpoint. when i am counseling tenants and we think about if we should go to the rent board, we know that
the tenant will get retaliated against. is it worth it to go to the rent board if they know they won't even get voted in favor of? and of the rent board won't be there to protect them. they are not a viable option for tenants to use. i want to make sure that the rent board becomes a tool that it should be, a fair place for tenants to go. i am asking you to vote yes on this legislation. >> i am an organizer with the mission collaborative. i wanted to echo some of the same things. i feel that we do view the rent board as a source of information. what the former speaker just said is that some time is not the best tool for us to use.
sometimes it is not a way for tenants to be able to work out issues with their landlord. the perception among many people is that it is a lot of work, and listening to those kinds of statistics, the chances are not good for a positive outcome. i was going to talk a little bit about retaliation. i feel like that has been covered pretty well. i would just like to say that maybe we can put some of the politics aside and think about the potential that the rent board has. in being fair and deciding what is fair. i think when we look at it in that way, it becomes clear that there is room for improvement. even looking at best practices, all of these other cities --
none of them have appointments fully. we need to look at other cities around the day at around the country. we can learn from what is going on outside of the city and county of san francisco. i do urge you to pass this forward, and i look forward to seeing this on the november ballot. >> i am a tenant activist, also a member of the union. for the record, i worked with two other major large complexes. i know from personal experience that the rent board is not democratic. this is san francisco, this is california. we need a democratic rent board. i urge you to pass this appointment of the board between the mayor and the board of supervisors. if the rent board was fair and it was working, we wouldn't
have the housing problems that we have today. one of the major housing problems, one of the major problems in san francisco is housing. the tenant has nowhere to go when a one-man band is appointing all members of the rent board. it needs to be appointed by the board of supervisors said the tenants can have a fair chance to resolve their problems in a democratic way. from my own personal experience, i can't believe that even though it was not visible or audible, the judge literally laughed in my face when i went on a hardship appeal. i had various medical problems. they made a joke about it. there is no way that the rent board service tenants. please, let's get some
democratic people there that can understand both sides and at least help the tenants. the majority of people that live in san francisco are tenants. the rent board needs to reflect that in a positive and healthy way. ironically right now, my landlord is doing work in my apartment exactly at the time of this hearing. very strange. never mind. thank you. >> walter. ♪ let's give the rent board members another try and point us to tomorrow i wish a the luck and the same to you won't regret the price they paid ♪ ♪ let's give the members another
try i wish you luck with the rent board and the same to you won't regret won't forget the price i paid for the rent ♪ president chiu: next speaker. >> thank you for a time. i just wanted to echo the calls in favor of this measure. i don't really know how you can argue against appointments being less fair than the mayor having the power as it is right now. additionally, the current
structure were the neutral members are the ones that make the decision, i don't see how it would hurt and added neutral members, either. again, i want to strongly urge you to support this measure. thanks for your time. >> i am from the tenants union. at the hearing we had a couple of weeks ago, the landlords pretty unanimously said they would support this measure if the number of tenants and landlords were equal. supervisor campos made that amendment. it nevertheless, they continue to oppose this. tenants have tried to work in good faith on this, and landlords have not. i think we need this reform, this issue has been around for quite some time.
this is a compromise. we wanted to get the rent board collected some years ago. this is the third time that this measure has been at the board, trying to get this compromise measure on the ballot as a charter amendment. i am not sure it will happen today, but we will continue to work on this. i think at some point, what we will end up having to do if we can't do it this way is what we have done before, just go out and collect the signatures. if we collect signatures, we're going to be doing it for an elected run board as is done in berkeley and santa monica. >> this is not a regular public comment, right? this is about the rent board.
you heard a lot of people talk about the rent board, but i want to tell you in 1979, the evictions. it is at a time when the jonestown murderers had just started. people had been removed from san francisco. we also had another thing happen to us in this city. we also had aids breaking out. we went on and voted for eviction. you need to change things around, the leaders. do what is right. miss alioto, you come from good stock. we need to thank chris daly for what he did in district 6.
for the mayor, we don't know. we want you to have some heart, too. we want you to know we have been there with you fake and then. the rent board should reflect diversity in this city. it is time to make san francisco the beacon on the hill. thank you. >> i am a tenants union counselor. i will agree with everybody who has spoken here that certainly having split appointments between the board and the supervisors, i think any renter will tell you is probably going to be a better deal for renters, especially with the mayor we currently have an opposite -- in office.
there is no public funding for tenants that are facing eviction. if you are served as an unlawful detainer, you have no choice but to lose your housing. if you have no money for an attorney, even if you do have money for the attorney, -- sorry, i am not very well prepared. the analogy is being charged with a criminal offense. you can't defend or be screwed. most tenants are not flush with cash. we need a strong and impartial rent board in terms of not favoring landlords. i deal with many clients each week, the perception is that
they're not getting a fair audience, and that the rent board routinely favors landlords. i have heard that with capital improvements, many situations where what should be deferred maintenance is being treated as capital improvement. if you are a landlord, you have a responsibility to maintain and habitable premise. it also disturbs me to hear that with respect to the new harassment language, no cases have been decided in favor of tenants. [chime] it seems like a very modest step. president chiu: thank you very much, next speaker. >> i wanted to clear up something that someone had said earlier. it will remain opposed to this legislation because we believe
the way the rent board is supposed to be set up, it is better off not being politicized. during the hearing, and there was some discussion about what is fair and what is not fair. i believe i was the only one who said that certainly, having three neutrals was more fair than having three tenants and to landlords. we did not mean to endorse the idea that we're going to support this concept because we are not -- i don't believe we will talk to that. >> that afternoon, supervisors. -- good afternoon, supervisors. i wanted to clear the record that we did not compromise or
agree to the changes. i wanted to tell you about the program and the city funds that we participated in to help tenants. thank you very much. president chiu: final speaker. >> this legislation is a very modest compromise measure. it does address a couple of important structural issues that all members of the rent board serve at the pleasure of the mayor. they are not just appointed. the mayor has the capacity to directly influence decisions that are made by the rent board.
and it is compounded by the fact that the rent board is currently comprised of to landlords, to tenants, and one neutral. effectively, there is one decisionmaker. those facts are really problematic in structure. it makes it very difficult to have rent board that is effective. it is supposed to protect tenants from significant rent increases. as a result, we have rent board that is quite weak. the san francisco rent board at blacks affirmative action taken on behalf of a tenant, and that is a significant problem. one thing that this does in this watered-down compromise measure is putting to landlords, to tenants, and three neutrals. it is significantly better than
what we have presently. the fair way to do it is to have the representation proportional to the population of san francisco. this is far from that. it might be better to have no assignments at all as to the number of neutral, make everybody simply be a resident of san francisco. west hollywood does that, and it might be better than this two- to-3 split. i would urge you to consider that. [chime] this should be put on the ballot in november. president chiu: next speaker. >> i am representing the affordable housing alliance. we're the oldest collect oral and lobbying renters. our understanding that one of the main purposes of this was to try to make the rent board lower
by giving tenants have a greater voice, and they comprise 66% of the population of san francisco, said there was going to be an attempt to have tenants have a greater voice on the rent board. since the item was amended, it does the opposite. it adds neutrals you're going to be property owners, and basically it dilutes the existing tenant voice, not that we have anywhere near the 66%. this amendment is written now and actually reduces the tenant voice to about 20%. i think it is going to be seen by most tenants when the dust clears, it will take awhile to think about is. it will be seen as a step backwards.
i think we are deluding the tent a voice -- diluting the tenant voice. president chiu: if there are any other members of the public that wish to speak, please step up. >> i just want to make a very short and simple statement in the spirit of checks and balances. i would support the proposed legislation, thank you. president chiu: are there any other members of the public that wish to speak? seeing nine, this hearing has been filed and closed. i also understand with this item, there will be a motion to continue it to later in the meeting? is there a second? can we take that without objection? can we take a roll-call vote on
the motion to continue? supervisor campos: aye. president chiu: aye. supervisor chu: aye. supervisor daly: no. supervisor dufty: aye. supervisor elsbernd: no. supervisor mar: aye. supervisor maxwell: aye. supervisor mirkarimi: aye. supervisor alioto-pier: aye. supervisor avalos: aye. >> there are 9 ayes and 2 no's. president chiu: this item will be continued. >> item 54 was considered by the public safety committee on monday and was recommended as a committee report. item 54 is a resolution authorizing an extent grant for the public defender's office and the amount of $119,000 before the local talent -- and accountability measures.
supervisor campos: aye. president chiu: aye. supervisor chu: aye. supervisor daly: aye. supervisor dufty: aye. supervisor elsbernd: aye. supervisor mar: aye. supervisor maxwell: aye. supervisor mirkarimi: aye. supervisor alioto-pier: aye. supervisor avalos: aye. >> there are 11 ayes. president chiu: this resolution is adopted. items 55 and 56. >> items 55 through 57 were considered. items 55 and 56 were not forwarded to the board. would you like me to read item 57? items 55 and 56 were not forwarded. president chiu: item 57, please.